Monday, March 11, 2013

# 16 Bill Hands -Chicago Cubs. The Beginning of a great ride.

The more I work on this blog the more I'm learning. I never thought much of anything about this card because I never heard of Bill Hands. I'm 35 years old and I grew up following and loving baseball from '86 to '94 (only liking it for the first few years after Fehr killed the sport with the strike) so I never learned about short term star players from the 1960's and '70's. Now with the internet you can learn about almost anything about sports and buy almost every pieceof sports memorabilia you'd never thought you'd see to buy in your life (old baseball yearbooks, even old MLB broadcasts on DVD)

Bill Hands was a pitcher and for a time, a great pitcher for the Cubs.  His Cubs career started with him splitting time in the bullpen and starting. Pitchers who play that role don't have great records or ERA's but once Hands ERA dropped to under 2.50 in '67, he was made a starter. His starting record in '68 was an impressive 16-10 as were his 4 shut outs. This started a good string for Hands which I imagine made him a fan favorite in Chicago especially during the team's pennant run in the 1969 season.

If there is one glaring flaw in Hands' stats is the amount of home runs he was surrendering. He was giving up double digit homer the entire time he had double digit wins. This likely led to him also having double digit loses during this time.

He was a solid player until he turned 32 when the injuries began to close in on him in 1972. This started Hands downfall in his career which took him to the Twins and finishing up with the Rangers. He still threw the occasional shut out up until he retired so like his record suggests, he was a hit or miss type of  pitcher.

This is one of those interesting cards to me because it had a Cubs player on it. I have always lived in New Jersey but for some reason WGN was broadcast in my area on cable. This meant during the spring, I got to see home games at Wrigley field on TV all the time. This was before the Cubs played their first night game and Harry Caray was still around bellowing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th inning stretch. How could a kid not become a Cub fan after that?

This card also looks to have mountains in the background to (it doesn't but it looked like it to me) and I always thout that was weird. You watch games on TV, see them live, you're seeing the players in the massive stadiums. This was mostly true in cards from the 80's and 90's. This set shows these same professional players looking as though they're getting ready to play in sandlots or on a junior high playground. The players looked out of their element.

Also, like the Battey card, I see a jacket under the jersey which meant to me, pitchers and catchers just reported in February for training

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